It is true that the works gathered in this exhibition could find an explanation in the heritage of those movements that since the 1950s have been confronting urban visuality, from Concrete Poetry to Neo-Concretism and the Poem/Process.
However, it might be possible to risk an opposite reasoning to that which would bring, from then to now, a justification for this exhibition based on an already known constructive "lineage" of Brazilian modernism.
If, on the one hand, the presence of operations on words, signs and signals remains present in most of the works exhibited here, on the other hand it must be acknowledged that many times these things made of characters come from a time after the time of the written text, collected in their urban naturalness already in fragments or already deflated of their communicative vocation.
Sometimes, it is a matter of seeing such characters appear peeled off in street posters or the remains of billboards; other times, in the thickness of graffiti; still other times, in the inflated diction of bathroom doors, in the text boxes of comic strips, in the spatialisation of luminaries. When they do not appear sliding to music, making sense only when vocalized or submitted to the cadence of speech, and this, suddenly, intuited in the simple movement of a single line or in the appearance of drips, derivations, stains, rebatements - formal elements that drag along with them material indices of a previous useful life in the urban space, and that contradict, therefore, any asceticism of language.
It is not that these works have abdicated the autonomous pulse in dealing with language. On the contrary, they have always been aware of the precedence of reading over any image, they admit beforehand that the form of things seen, their structure, has become too decisively accustomed to a linear self-understanding from left to right.
But such works seem to prefer, to the juggling - even the most precise juggling - of serifs and sans-serifs fonts and the tectonic back-and-forth of poetry on the page, the temporary, leftover fit of a letter that stretches to serve two overlapping lines of words; For emphasis, they prefer fattening ink to accents; the paralinguistic efficacy of the silhouette made by the conjunction of parentheses and dots and the game of dice in the irregularity of the paving stone to any productive or educational ascendancy of design.
If one cannot counteract the feeling of insight or the immediate relief one gets whenever the meaning of things peeks out ("Ah! A piece of word!"; "Whew! Not a line, a landscape!"), one can, however, seek a desublimation or a re-encounter with an erotic dimension of the text - a "fatally text", the one that does not come before calligraphy, the one that brings into its meaning the social place to which the materials with which it is enunciated belong.
Perhaps it is this a posteriori dimension, before any affiliation, that which these works attain when confronted with the concrete experience of Brazilian poetry or the constructive verve of the modern art tradition: the materiality of the text, the perceptive structure of raw things, those problems that force the past to return once again, to become available once more.
Carlos Eduardo Riccioppo
September 2016
Installation Views